Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nobody Understands Debt - NYTimes.com

This article actually made me laugh out loud. It's a classic example of how tortured logic can get when someone wants to justify a direction that goes against fundamentals.

There are so many holes in the article, it's impossible to debunk them all, but the main thing to remember is that Debt needs to be paid back. It's not a free lunch, and even though much of this money is owed to U.S. based retirees, pension funds, endowments, etc, we will still have to pay it back. They will not accept a magical haircut to their balance when paying them back get's tough.

Also, the marginal lender (to the U.S.) is really what matters. I believe China and other emerging countries are the marginal lenders right now. They buy our new treasuries and the proceeds go to deficit spending or rolling over (refinancing existing debt). The day these countries stop buying our debt, is the day that rates start climbing and get us in trouble.